Niagara Falls Blog

What to Do If You Have One Weekend in Niagara Falls

What to Do If You Have One Weekend in Niagara Falls

A weekend in Niagara Falls makes for a perfect winter getaway. With spectacular sights, one-of-a-kind attractions, and countless shops, hotels and restaurants, there’s no better place to spend a weekend away from home with friends and family.

So if you’re planning a weekend getaway to Niagara Falls, here are some of the best things to do to ensure you make the most of your time in this remarkable city:

  • Take a walk to the brink of the Falls near the Table Rock Welcome Centre and see the rushing waters from up close. Spend some time taking in the most powerful waterfall in North America and one of the most famous waterfalls in the world, because it’s a truly breathtaking sight.
  • Visit Niagara Parks’ Journey Behind the Falls and experience the incredible power of the Horseshoe Falls from both behind and below.
  • If you’re on a family weekend getaway, you can escape the cold and have a full day of fun at the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark. With 16 thrilling waterslides, a giant indoor wavepool, 1,000 gallon tipping bucket and more, it’s a one-of-a-kind destination that offers fun for people of all ages.
  • Stop by Niagara Brewing Company on Clifton Hill from 3-4pm and 7-8pm for daily “Hoppy Hour” drink specials and on Thursdays for Thirsty Thursday food and drink specials from 6pm-12am. With live entertainment, amazing food, innovative and delicious craft beer, and a beer store where you can buy your favourite brews to take home, it’s a great place to sit back and have a relaxing time with friends.
  • Experience delicious farm-to-table cuisine at Windows by Jamie Kennedy Fresh Grill & Wine Bar. The seasonal menu showcases the very best local ingredients from throughout the Niagara Region, and the view of Niagara Falls from the dining room’s floor-to-ceiling windows is breathtaking and unforgettable.
  • Until January 31st you can check out the annual Winter Festival of Lights in Queen Victoria Park, Dufferin Islands, and around the city’s tourist district as millions of sparkling lights and wonderful light displays light up the city. You can also catch a spectacular fireworks show over Niagara Falls on Fridays at 9pm.
  • Stay in a spectacular Fallsview guestroom at one of the city’s many amazing hotels like the Sheraton on the Falls or Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, and experience world-class accommodation right in the heart of the city.

There is no shortage of sights to see and fun to be had in Niagara Falls, so start planning your weekend winter getaway today and find out for yourself what makes Niagara Falls a favourite destination for millions of visitors each year.

Get Your Kids Excited About Niagara With These Fun Facts

Generations of families have been vacationing at Niagara Falls for years but in today’s travel market it can be difficult to get your kids excited about a vacation anywhere that doesn’t involve their favorite cartoon character. It’s not really their fault; family travel and the way it’s promoted has changed a great deal over the years and direct marketing to kids definitely has its effects on parents’ decisions.

However, while your kids might not yet realize it, Niagara has always been a family-oriented vacation destination. And while some may think it’s just a waterfall, there are so many more aspects of the Niagara region that most kids just don’t know about.

However, if they did know what was in store for them, their interest is bound to grow. So when you’re planning your trip, involve your kids, give them some information on some Niagara Falls facts, and see how excited they become, and be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

Where Is Niagara Falls?

One of the things your children will probably wonder about is where is Niagara Falls anyway? This is a great opportunity to give them a little lesson on geography as Niagara Falls is actually in two countries, Canada and the United States, and the border is between New York and Ontario. You can explain to them about the Rainbow Bridge and how the border between the two countries lies right in the center.

You can also explain that they’ll need to use their passports and for many children this might be the first time they’ve done so. Crossing an international border is always exciting, no matter what your age, so this will have them doubly excited.

What’s So Special About a Waterfall?

Waterfalls exist all over the world and there are many that are taller than Niagara, so how do you explain to your kids what makes Niagara special? You can start by explaining that Niagara Falls is actually made up of three separate waterfalls, Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls. Bridal Veil Falls is the smallest and Horseshoe Falls is the largest. While none of these falls are the tallest in the world, the capacity of the combined water flow of the three is the largest volume in the world.

For the budding scientists in your family you can also explain how the power of the water is used by hydroelectric power plants to create electricity for the surrounding area. During the summer, when most tourists visit, the power plant diverts less water so visitors are treated to a large volume of water cascading over the falls, which is a spectacular sight.

Where Does the Water Come From?

Another question your kids might have, and a valid one at that, is where does the water come from? To answer that question you’ll need to start with the past and have a talk about glaciers since it was the movement of glaciers 10,000 years ago that created the conditions for the falls to form. As to the water, it comes from nearby Lake Erie, which is part of the Great Lakes, one of the largest source of fresh water in the world.

In fact, if you live in Canada or the United States the chances are almost 100 percent that you’ve had a glass of water that, at one time, cascaded over Niagara Falls.

Do People Really Go Over the Falls?

This question is one that has fascinated people, young and old, for years and the answer is yes, people have gone over the falls. Some survived and some did not but it’s always been the fascination of daredevils from around the world.

The first person to go over Niagara Falls and live to tell the tale was a woman named Annie Edison and she did so on October 21, 1901. Since then many other people have attempted it but few were successful. One interesting case was a Greek man named George Stathakis who went over the falls in a barrel with his pet turtle named Sonny.

Another interesting aspect of Niagara Falls is that fish go over the falls all the time. In fact, if you take the Cave of the Winds tour you can often see them as they go down. Most of the fish survive due to the foamy water at the base of the falls which acts as a cushion.

Fun facts aside, there is a lot more to Niagara than just the falls. As a truly family friendly destination there are fun activities like the indoor waterpark, the games and rides at Clifton Hill, the fireworks displays, the food, and so much more. And once your kids know more about this fun and fascinating destination the excitement is certain to ensue.

A 5-Day Niagara Itinerary for Your Next Visit

Visiting Niagara Falls is always a feast for the senses. There is so much to do, see, eat, and drink that it can be difficult to plan for your stay. Of course, much of this depends on the time you have for your vacation. If you have two weeks to spare then you have the luxury of being much more flexible. However, most people tend to take an average of five days’ vacation so planning becomes crucial.

Niagara Falls in five days is an ideal way to see and do some of the best things the city and the surrounding area have to offer. And while you could scour the internet and make all the plans yourself why not let us help you?

Our experts have come up with a great way to experience Niagara’s highlights without feeling rushed. And this itinerary could easily be adapted for couples, families with children, or groups. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions about how we can make your Niagara Falls vacation the best it can be.

Day 1: Exploring Niagara

The first day of any vacation is always the most exciting day but make sure that you’re well rested and ready to start the day. Have breakfast at the famous Blue Line Diner. This truly local breakfast spot is a town favorite, and while it might be a little hard to find, it’s worth it for their amazing pancakes.

After breakfast grab a map and get yourselves oriented. Queen Victoria Park is a good place to get started and walk off those pancakes. From here you can get your first good look at the falls and Goat Island. You can also stroll the streets around Clifton Hill and the Fallsview Resort to see everything that they have on offer. You may want to take notes here; there are numerous dining, drinking, and playing spots in this area.

Have lunch in the area and then book your boat ride to the base of the falls. The afternoon sun gives you the best chance of seeing beautiful rainbows in the mist.

After what could prove to be a long day, maybe have dinner at one of the restaurants on Clifton Hill and relax at your hotel for the night.

Day 2: Ice Wine Festival

Some of the highlights of the Niagara region are its wineries. This area is one of the best climates in the world for many varieties of grapes, but Niagara’s claim to fame in the wine world is icewine. The grapes are left on the vine until after the first frost and the resulting wine is a sweet libation that many wine lovers really enjoy.

So today you’ll visit Niagara’s Icewine Festival which takes place from January 27th to 29th, 2017. You’ll be able to try wines from over 20 local vintners and local chefs will be on hand with savory treats to pair with the wines. There are several tasting sessions to choose from, so if day two of your visit doesn’t quite fit, you can choose another day. This event is reserved for adults over the age of 19.

Day 3: Spa Day

If you spent the previous day at the Icewine Festival, you may feel like taking it easy. Order room service for breakfast and then consider a spa treatment to rejuvenate. The Christienne Fallsview Spa in the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel offers a number of spa services guaranteed to make to you look and feel your best.

Consider a couple’s massage, a facial, body treatments, manicures, and more. The space is relaxing and the view of the falls can’t be beat.

Day 4: Snowshoeing Hike

Today is the day you should lace up your snowshoes and explore some of the hiking trails in the area. Niagara Parks has dedicated several of its hiking trails as snowshoe trails in the winter months and many of these trails take you right along the Niagara River and the falls themselves. If you’re new to snowshoeing you can easily hire a guide to make the trip more fun.

After a day of snowshoeing it’s time to change into something a bit more presentable and head out for a wonderful dinner. Windows by Jamie Kennedy is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Ontario or if you’re interested in Italian fare the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra can’t be beat.

Day 5: Fallsview Waterpark

Your last day in Niagara should be all about fun so why not visit the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark? Open all year round this indoor waterpark is fun for people of all ages. There is also an adult’s only hot tub as well as slides and other equipment that makes for a splashing good time.

You can round out your day by playing the games, taking a spin on the rides, and eating dinner at Clifton Hill. This combination arcade/amusement park is a lot of fun, whether you’re traveling with your children or not.

Start Planning Your Next Trip to Niagara Falls!

While we’ll certainly be sad to see you go, we really hope this fiv- day itinerary inspires you to book your vacation in Niagara Falls. As always, if you have any questions or need to make reservations don’t hesitate to reach out.

The Ultimate Guide to New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls

nfhblog1If there’s one celebration that party lovers around the world anticipate all year — it’s New Year’s Eve. Unique in that it’s not a celebration limited to a single country’s culture, New Year’s Eve is truly a worldwide event and a spectacular one at that.

While some might be content to spend New Year’s Eve with a small party at their home or by celebrating with friends and family, many people elect to travel to celebrate in a new place and in a totally different style.

If that sounds like you, consider choosing Niagara Falls.

New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls has become one of the most popular spots in regards to this celebration and given the fact that it’s such an easily reached destination from almost anywhere in the United States and Canada and even some parts of Europe. It’s also jam packed with parties, fireworks and light displays, exceptional dining, and fantastic deals on hotel stays.

So if you want to do something completely different to ring in 2017 this is your ultimate guide to New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls. Cheers!

Queen Victoria Park

Queen Victoria Park is the heart of New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls and you really don’t want to miss it. Beginning at 7:30pm the park is packed with food and drink vendors, live music, and thousands of other revelers. The trees in the park itself are adorned with lights but you also have a fantastic view of the falls and the fireworks at midnight.

Even though it’s winter, expect to see lively costumes as people really tend to go all out for the biggest party of the year. So perhaps consider adding some flair to your winter wardrobe and add to the fun.

Exceptional Dining

One of the best things about New Year’s Eve, if you don’t count the champagne, is the chance to indulge in a wonderful dinner before the celebrations really get underway. Niagara Falls is home to some of the best restaurants and most respected chefs in the world. The only bad part is choosing which restaurant to make your reservation with, and you will want to make a reservation.

Windows by Jamie Kennedy is currently Niagara’s hotspot for farm-to-table dining in an elegant setting or you could try The Rainbow Room by celebrated Italian chef Massimo Capra. The Skylon Tower with its revolving dining room is also a great choice.

But remember, reservations! You’re not the only one who wants to treat themselves to an elegant dinner on New Year’s Eve.

Where to Stay

Many Niagara hotels offer great package deals during New Year’s Eve so it’s worth the effort to check them out. Packages generally include one or two night’s stay along with other perks such as special dining or drinking offers. In addition the hotels want their guests to have the best New Year’s Eve experience so they pull out all the stops.

For instance, Sheraton on the Falls is offering a package that includes dinner, access to the private party, and champagne at midnight. The Crowne Plaza is offering a package that includes dinner at the aforementioned Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra.

nfhblog2Light up the Night

The best part of New Year’s Eve is the fireworks. Of course almost all major cities put on fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve, but few rival the light show you’ll see in Niagara Falls. The falls themselves are illuminated and the fireworks display starts at midnight, as one would expect.

While you could watch the fireworks from your hotel room with a view of the falls, why not really get in on the action? The view from the Skylon Tower is magnificent or you could join the thousands of other party goers at Queen Victoria park. In addition to providing a great view of the falls and the fireworks it’s where all the other action takes place.

Niagara’s Nightclubs

If you prefer to stay out of the cold and dance the night away any of Niagara’s popular nightclubs will fit the bill. Dragonfly, located in the Fallsview Casino Resort, is very trendy and its Asian theme really makes it stand out. You can also try Rumours for great DJs and excellent service.

Club Mardi Gras is probably the most popular club in town and, as you might have guessed, it’s almost as if you’ve stepped onto Bourbon Street. Great drinks and a great vibe means your New Year’s Eve here will be one for the record books.

New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls is truly an event you won’t want to miss. Don’t delay and get those travel arrangements booked, hotel stays confirmed, and dinner reservations made and start 2017 off in a really big way.

Experience Niagara’s Wonderful Winter Festival of Lights

The holiday season is in full swing and there’s no better way to spend time with loved ones than by visiting Niagara Falls together during the city’s annual Winter Festival of Lights. Each winter, Niagara Falls is transformed into a wonderland of sparkling lights along an 8km festival route that includes beautiful parklands by the Falls, Dufferin Islands, and the city’s surrounding tourist district.

This amazing winter festival draws over one million visitors to Niagara Falls each season and has become a cherished holiday tradition for countless people. Locals and visitors can expect to see incredible light displays like an illuminated Noah’s Ark, large Canadian-American flag, Canadian wildlife animals, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Dufferin Islands also features fifty wrapped trees and Queen Victoria Park is home to the spectacular Zimmerman fountain.

You can also plan your trip to ensure you experience the city’s weekly fireworks show and the newly-upgraded lights for the nightly illumination of Niagara Falls. The festival runs from November 19th to January 31st and is free of charge, although donations are always welcome and collected at the exit to Dufferin Islands.

Attending the Winter Festival of Lights is the perfect way to create lasting holiday memories with loved ones, so start planning your getaway today and make the most of wonderful winter in Niagara Falls.

Experience Niagara Falls in New Light

nparks9Since 1925, Niagara Falls has been illuminated at night with brilliant spotlights that transform the rushing waterfalls into a beautiful display of colour and light. And now the Niagara Falls Illumination Board has improved upon this amazing 91-year tradition with the addition of brand new energy-efficient LED lights that are twice as powerful as the old lights and use about 60% less energy to run.

The Niagara Falls Illumination Board houses the 100 panels of new LED lights in the Illumination Tower next to Queen Victoria Place and from a spot in the Niagara Gorge. The new lights are much brighter and less hindered by the thick mist created by the waterfalls, which ultimately enhances the illumination experience.

Niagara Parks and the Niagara Falls Illumination Board will also continue to light up Niagara Falls in special colours in order to support and raise awareness for a wide range of non-profit and charitable organizations. The schedule for these special illuminations along with the regular illumination schedule can be found on the Niagara Parks.

Visitors and locals alike can take in the illumination of Niagara Falls every evening as the lights will be on from 5pm to midnight from now until January 31st, with the exception of New Year’s Eve when they will be lit until 1am.

Experience Niagara Falls in all of its bright and colourful beauty by taking an evening walk down by the Falls or relishing the view through floor-to-ceiling windows in a spectacular Fallsview hotel room. The thundering waters of Niagara Falls are remarkable to see, and taking in their beauty at night is a truly unique and breathtaking experience that is not to be missed. (Photo Credit: Niagara Parks Commission)

Ringing in the New Year in Niagara Falls

far_newyearseve_post4Ring in 2017 in Niagara Falls at one of Canada’s most popular and longest-running New Year’s Eve celebrations in Queen Victoria Park. This year’s show features an all-Canadian musical lineup with Sam Roberts Band, Serena Ryder, and High Valley set to take the stage. The show will kick off at 8pm with music from local Niagara band James Blonde.

You won’t want to miss out on an unforgettable New Year’s Eve in Queen Victoria Park, which will also feature great food and beverage options and an outdoor licensed area. And at midnight, expect to see the sky over Niagara Falls lit up in spectacular fireworks, which are launched straight from the Niagara Gorge.

Start 2017 with a special getaway to Niagara Falls and stay just minutes away from the celebration in Queen Victoria Park by booking a room at a Falls Avenue Resort hotel like the Sheraton on the Falls or Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, both of which offer breathtaking views of the Falls from floor-to-ceiling windows. You can also choose between a Fallsview Gala Package and Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra Dining Package, which will offer unforgettable New Year’s Eve experiences just steps from Niagara Falls.

Make 2017 a great year  from the get-go and start planning your New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls today!

Car Insurance Tips for the United States and Canada

nfhblog8When many people decide that they’re ready to take a trip to Niagara Falls the most logical way to get there is by car. It’s a destination that’s easily reached from most of the eastern seaboard of the United State and is an easy drive from most of eastern Canada as well. Plus, family road trips are always great experiences and allow you to take in the sights and sounds of the countryside.

However, when crossing an international border with your car, there are a few extra tasks that must be done to be certain you’re in compliance with each country’s auto insurance laws. While the requirements for the United States and Canada aren’t very different from each other these are a few things that you’ll need to know and need to put into motion early enough so your trip is not affected.

Coverage Requirements

Both the United States and Canada require liability and comprehensive collision coverage. Also, in most cases your existing policy on your car in your home country will provide the level of coverage you need when you cross the border. It’s always best to check with your insurance company to be certain, and most car insurance companies in the United States will issue a special, temporary card that you’ll need while driving in Canada. Canadian authorities do require the actual card and copies or email printouts are not accepted so you will need to allow for the time it takes for your insurance card to arrive in the mail.

For Canadians driving into the United States the rules are very similar. Your Canadian auto policy is valid in the United States for the length of your stay but be sure to check that your policy won’t expire during the trip and check with your insurance agent to ascertain that everything is in order so you can avoid surprises down the road.

Required Documents

In addition to your passports and birth certificates for children younger than 16 years of age, you’ll also need to bring all of your insurance paperwork, valid driver’s license, and your car’s registration certificate. Both Canadian and United States authorities have the right to check these documents, especially if they may think the car is stolen. Always be polite and provide any documents requested.

For people traveling from countries other than the United States or Canada you may need an International Driving Permit, and some states require this of Canadian citizens. Check this website to see if you’ll need an IDP.

In Case of an Accident

nfhblog9In the unlikely case that you’re in an accident while driving in the United States or Canada follow the rules that you would in your own country. Move your vehicle out of the way of traffic if possible and call both the police and your insurance company. Ensure that no one is seriously injured and wait for the police to arrive. Once police reports become available your insurance company will take care of the rest.

Driving in Canada and the United States is a great way to experiences both sides of the Niagara region but be sure that your insurance needs are taken care of well before you leave. After that, relax and enjoy your trip of a lifetime.

Rock Climbing in Niagara Falls

nfhblog6While the Niagara Escarpment is one of the most unique geological features in the world one of the things it’s not famous for its climbable walls and rock faces. The area is generally flat which is great for hikers but if you have a climber in your midst he or she might feel a bit disappointed.

However, that’s not to say that your climber has to go away empty chalk handed. In order to appease the growing number of local climbers and visiting ones there are now a few indoor climbing walls that can cure that climbing itch while you enjoy all the other things to do in Niagara Falls.

Niagara Climbing Center

If you’re itching to get acquainted with the climbing community in the Buffalo/Niagara area then the Niagara Climbing Center will feel like home to you. This outfit is generally open in the evenings from 4 p.m. but local school holidays see the climbing center open from 11 a.m. to accommodate the youngsters who are eager to burn off that “no school today” energy.

The Niagara Climbing Center offers 6,000 feet of climbing surface and 30 rope stations with a height of 20 feet. The expert staff at Niagara Climbing Center changes the routes frequently to stimulate their patrons and improve their skills that they will then use in real life rock face situations. Niagara Climbing Center also offers portable climbing walls for parties and they offer group rates and can help Boy Scouts complete the requirements for their climbing merit badge.

Peaks Indoor Climbing Center

nfhblog7Similar to their competition, Peaks Indoor Climbing Center offers 60 routes created by their expert staff and each is created with various skill levels in mind. All climbers from beginner to expert will find a route that suits their abilities. Lessons are available from onsite climbing experts and you can even get a mini bouldering demo and lesson if that’s something that you’re interested in.

Again, Peaks Indoor Climbing Center is great for groups, especially corporate groups interested in team building exercises as there isn’t a better way to build trust than to ask someone to hold your rope when you’re twenty feet off the ground.

Niagara Freefall & Interactive Center

If there’s one place in Niagara that will appeal to climbers and non-climbers alike it’s the Niagara Freefall & Interactive Center. Home to a 32 foot climbing wall that can challenge even the most experienced climbers this center also offers a free fall wind tunnel, laser tag, mechanical bull riding, and much more. Arcade games are available for the younger members of your family or group and a full service restaurant is available onsite.

Rock climbing as a sport has grown steadily over the last several years and you’ll find more and more people truly love to tackle sheer rock faces and have a great time in the process. On your next vacation to Niagara Falls be sure to allow at least one day for the climber in your family so he or she can indulge in their favorite pastime while the rest of you enjoy everything else Niagara has to offer.

How to Speak English in Canada

nfhblog7So you’ve got your bags packed and are ready for your vacation to Niagara Falls. Of course you didn’t pack a phrase book because they speak English in Canada, right?

Well, yes. And no.

Just like different regions of the United States and Britain have their own unique slang terms and words, Canada is no different. While you won’t find yourself puzzled too often when talking with a Canadian there are a few words that you may not understand.

So here’s a handy guide to some of Canada’s most popular words and phrases that you might encounter during your visit to Niagara Falls.


Canadians use this term at the end of a question, like the way an American might end a question with “right?” Here’s an example: This is the best poutine in town, eh?


You might call it soda but Canadians use the word pop to describe those sweet, fizzy drinks. Here’s an example: Do you want pop or water with that burger?


In Canada a loonie is not someone suffering from mental illness. It’s the nickname for the one dollar Canadian coin that features a loon as its emblem. The two dollar coin is called a toonie.  Here’s an example: Can I borrow a loonie? I haven’t been to the ATM yet.


You know that thing that keeps the lights on in your house? You call it electricity but Canadians call it hydro. Here’s an example: That storm last night knocked out the hydro all over town!


What you call a napkin the Canadians call a serviette. Serviette is also the French word for napkin, so this is one of those cases where French words have become part of Canadian English. Here’s an example: Can I please have another serviette? This one fell on the floor.


Another French word used in Canada is toque, pronounced as “took”, and is a winter cap or beanie. You’ll definitely need to know this word if you visit Niagara in the winter. Here’s an example: You’d better put your toque on or your head will freeze!


Nearly every English speaking country in the world uses this word, except America. Zed is how Canadians pronounce the last letter of the alphabet. So if you ever need to spell something out you’ll need to know this word. Here’s an example: My last name is Zimmer; it starts with zed.

Jam Buster

If you’ve got a sweet tooth you’ll want to know this word. It’s Canadian English for a jelly donut. Here’s an example: Let’s get some jam busters before we head over the falls.

Double Double

While you’re ordering your jam buster you might want to ask for a double double too. This is how Canadians order coffee with two creams and two sugars. Here’s an example: I’ll take a jam buster and a double double please!


Country roads are called lines in parts of Canada, especially Ontario. If you plan on taking a road trip during your visit this is a good word to know. Here’s an example: Which line will take me to the farmer’s market?

While it’s not absolutely essential to use these words it’s always fun to try out the local customs and language when you travel. Use one or more of these during your trip and see how fun it can be!